In California, it is against the law to distribute fake documents if they have a potential when presented, to be mistaken for official documents. But to convict fake Matricula distributors, the cops have to launch lengthy sting operations sometimes as long as six months. That's why the cops who patrol in their black and whites in the areas where fake documents are manufactured and sold in the MacArthur Park area of Los Angeles, don't bother with the vendors.
But you are not a distributor. In your case, it is not against the law to buy or posses a fake matricula any more than it is against the law to buy or posses play money as long as neither contains a forged U.S., state, or local government seal (foreign seals don't count). It's only against the law if you try to use a fake matricula to falsify your ID just as it is also against the law to try to buy groceries with play money. (when I was arrested in Garden Grove, California, the cops said nothing about my matricula they found when they went through my wallet). Moreover, the L.A. ordinance which officially recognizes foreign IDs says nothing about possession of a fake Matricula ID. To get your matricula, go to the SE corner of Alvarado Street and Wilshire Blvd in the MacArthur Park area of Los Angeles. There you will find a thriving group of underground venders (operating in the open) selling items ranging from chicharon to drugs. The matricula venders hang around the 99 Cent Only Store (see details) eyeing people who look like they want to buy their goods much like the way used car salesmen eye people on their lot who are kicking tires.
Go up to any one hanging around and ask for Valdo (he speaks some English and is my favorite vendor). If Valdo isn't available (he sometimes takes the day off), any one of the other vendors will be eager to help you. The going price to Hispanics is $30.00, but the vendor will try to negotiate a higher price if you are a "rich" Anglo, but don't pay more than $40.00.
Before you go to buy your matricula, be prepared to provide the vendor with the following information you want on the card:
- The name you want to show (your own name or one you make up).
- The address of where you live in the U.S. (your own address or one you make up).
- Your birth date (your own or one you make up).
- Where you were born in Mexico (wink, wink -- nudge nudge).
- A copy of your signature that can be scanned (or tell the vendor to just simply jot any unreadable signature that barely resembles the name you will use).
- A passport style photo without a hat or your glasses (but since you will not be using your matricula to falsify information, you can use any decent photo. Just tell the vendor that it doesn't matter to you if the photo doesn't meet passport standards).
NOTE: If you don't have a photo, the vendor will take you to a photo shop two blocks away where you will have your picture taken for $10.00.
Other than paying for your photo, do not pay the vendor until he delivers the product. You will be asked to wait across the street at the park or if you're hungry, you can kill some time at Langer's Deli just down the street. It takes from one to two hour for the card to be delivered to you. If you don't want to wait, give the vendor your cell phone number and he will call you when the card is finished.
To stay out of trouble, don't try to use your new matricula as an official ID. However, if you are a deadbeat dad who doesn't want to be traced as you flee to another state, you can use your matricula bearing false information to board an airliner.